December 22, 2022
In loving memory ~
Nettie Marie Gerber, originally of Kelsey, Alberta, passed away on December 22nd, 2022 at the age of 100 years. Nettie died of old age.
Nettie was born to Arthur and Carrie Zimmerman on the family farm at Kelsey. Nettie was one of eight children including siblings Edna, Cleda, Paul, Gerald, Mearl, Earl, and Glenna, and half-brother Clarence Grove.
In 1942, Nettie married Virgil Merle Gerber in a double wedding ceremony with her sister Edna and Walter Nelson. Nettie and Virgil had six children. Life on the farm was busy with gardening, baking, canning, ball tournaments, curling bonspiels, trips to the ranch, 4H clubs, family potlucks, and vacations in Alberta and B.C.
Nettie and Virg farmed for almost 50 years in the Kelsey area until Virg passed away in 1990. Nettie was very involved in Kelsey’s community activities including UCW, Kelsey United Church and Ladies Aid.
For many years, Nettie, with her sister Edna and her brothers would go for weekly Tuesday night dinners in Camrose. They were often joined by other family members.
Nettie started knitting when she was in grade school when her schoolteacher, Miss Lindfield, taught the students to knit. She continued to knit until her death, some 90 years later. She always liked lots of colours and many of her creations were multi-coloured sweaters, caps, toques, mittens, socks, and scarves.
Nettie sewed and quilted throughout her life until the last few years. She would make many quilts each year for family and friends, and to donate to charity.
Nettie was a voracious reader most of her life and would often swap books with her kids. It was common for her to read 100 books per year. She also enjoyed creative writing and has written many short stories.
Nettie enjoyed travelling throughout her life. She had been across Canada to Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Haida Gwaii, and B.C.; too many US states including at least 12 trips to Hawaii; to Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, Costa Rica and several cruises including an Alaskan cruise with her three granddaughters. Nettie and Virg spent many winters in Arizona, and later on Vancouver Island.
The family farm was sold in 1999 and Nettie left the farm ready for new adventures. She was 77 years old and ready to embark on the next phase of her life. She moved to Sidney, B.C. where she rented an apartment and lived there for three years. She made many new friends and had fun exploring beaches in the area.
In July 2002, there was a celebration in Kelsey to mark 100 years since Nettie’s grandparents had bought the homestead half a mile south of Kelsey, Alberta where Nettie and her siblings were raised.
In 2002 she moved back to Camrose, Alberta and shared a house with her daughter Annette for 11 years. The yard was great for gardening with many raspberries growing and room for lots of flowers and vegetables. There was a fire pit in the backyard and many gatherings with friends and family around a campfire.
In 2013, Nettie moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Camrose. It was a terrific place; the second bedroom was used for sewing, crafting and storing yarn and fabrics. In the summer, her deck was full of potted plants and other fun treasures.
In 2015, Nettie moved into Deer Meadows in Camrose, a senior facility providing independent living suites. Although she no longer enjoyed cooking, she was still a prolific baker making bread, cinnamon buns, pies and jam. Entertainment and activities were offered almost every day of the week. She knew so many of the other residents including people from the community including Kelsey, Rosalind and Bawlf. She enjoyed playing cards and games with friends and family.
In 2020, Nettie moved to Vancouver Island where she lived with Shelley and Rob on a rural property near Parksville. Once again, the adventures began. She enjoyed live music gatherings, made Random Chaos knitted patchwork blankets, and developed a special friendship with a cat called Chiwe. She picked blackberries, supervised the making of pies and jams and made new friends.
On July 20th, 2022, Nettie celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends. It was a lovely outdoor gathering with the highlight of having 196 pieces of birthday mail delivered to her, including a letter from the Queen. She read through the cards and letters many times over the last months and was so touched by the stories and greetings.
Nettie will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. She was cherished by so many people throughout her life.
We will miss you Mom – you lived your life to the fullest, finding joy in your family, friends, and your activities. Your creativity, imagination and playfulness enriched your life and the lives of all who met and knew you.
Left to cherish her memory are her children: Virginia (Lorne) Partridge, Annette Hillaby, David (Maureen) Gerber, Gloria Gerber (Robert Stefaniuk), Shelley Gerber (Robert Mathewson), daughter-in-law Joan Gerber (Paul Winterhalt); thirteen grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandsons, and numerous nieces and nephews. Also left to cherish her memory are her brother Earl Zimmerman and sister Glenna Adams and sister-in-law Edith Gerber.
She was predeceased by her parents Carrie and Arthur Zimmerman; her husband Virgil; son Rudy; brothers Clarence, Paul, Mearl, and Gerald and sisters Cleda and Edna.
The family is planning a celebration of life in Camrose in the spring/summer of 2023.
If family and friends so desire, memorial contributions are gratefully accepted with the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, or the charity of one’s choice.
An enormous thank you to Island Health Home Care and Palliative Care teams. You provided the support needed by Nettie and her family to allow her to remain at home until the end of her life. We are so grateful.
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